VOLODYMYR NEZHENETS

VOLODYMYR NEZHENETS

1968 to 2022

[Editor’s Note: In an effort to honor the heroism of the Ukrainian people, the following story, written by Sudarsan Raghavan, is reprinted from the Washington Post. Photos by Heidi Levine.]

Families bury the dead as Ukraine counts war casualties

Oksana Shlonska holds a portrait of her husband, who was killed by the Russians in Ukraine.

KYIV, Ukraine — Even as the boom of outgoing artillery shells sounded every minute, Oksana Shlonska was determined to bury her husband. He was killed by gunfire last Sunday, but the war had prevented his final rites. First, the autopsy took days due to the numerous corpses arriving at the morgue. Then, on Thursday, a Grad missile crashed near the gravesite in Kyiv, forcing the mourners to flee. “The Russians shelled even the cemetery,” said Shlonska, 52. “They fear even our dead.”

On Friday, despite the danger, she was going to try again to pay her last respects to her 54-year-old husband, Volodymyr Nezhenets, a child psychologist who signed up last week to fight against Russia and was fatally shot in a gun battle not too far from the cemetery. “It is important for me to bury him today,” she said as she waited in the morning at the morgue to claim his remains. In her arms, she clutched a portrait of him.

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JEFFREY MATTHEW SALES

JEFFREY MATTHEW SALES

1974 – 2022

A brave, dedicated, humble hero

Written by RaeAnn Christensen
(Edited by The Précis)

The heart of an American hero just couldn’t take it anymore. Jeffrey Matthew Sales—a beloved husband, father, and former Army Combat Medic who took his last breath in the same COVID unit where he had been working tirelessly as a nurse to save lives—died of the virus and heart failure, on January 21st, 2022, at Blake Medical Center in Bradenton, FL.

He was just 47.

Diagnosed at age 22 with a hole in his heart that doctors repaired with a metal valve, Jeff was keenly aware and cautious throughout his medical career. Years later, that same valve failed, ravaged by a sudden case of COVID.

Said Jeff’s son Brayden Sales: “They did everything they could; they had the whole hospital working on him. We couldn’t have asked for a better medical staff.” The staff loved him, Brayden said, and spent as much time with his dad as his family.

“If you want it, work for it.”

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JOSHUA KYLE HYDEN

JOSHUA KYLE HYDEN

1985 to 2021

Protective, lively, and relentlessly loyal

Kyle and his Nicole.

Joshua Kyle Hyden—a protective, lively, and relentlessly loyal young man whose premature death left his family shocked and devastated—passed away at North Florida Regional Medical Center in Gainesville, FL, on December 3rd, 2021, his wife Nicole, parents Joy and Rodney, and Aunt Karen at his side.

Kyle with his “Papa Jack”.

The oldest of two children, Kyle, as he preferred to be known, was born April 4, 1985, in Gainesville, FL to Joy and Rodney Hyden, owner of BHB Builders, a construction company. As a child, he adored his grandfather, Jackson “Jack” Hyden, or Papa Jack, as he called him.

Kyle grew up fishing and hunting with his father. He spent summers at the local springs in Central Florida, swimming and barbecuing with friends and family and stalking game and fishing with his maternal grandfather, Ted H. Mathis, known as Epa. He attended Gainesville High School and learned carpentry from Papa Jack. There was nothing Kyle couldn’t build, operate or repair, something that also bonded him with his dad, Rodney, who taught his son the construction business—from operating heavy equipment to concrete masonry.

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ELIZABETH GAIL WILLHARDT

ELIZABETH GAIL WILLHARDT

1942 – 2021

A passion for art

Elizabeth Gail Willhardt—whose passion for art prompted her to trade her law career for painting—passed away from cancer at home in Venice, CA on, August 18, 2021, surrounded by the love of her partner Max Diamond, cousin Greg Violand, and friend Janet Zarem. She was 79.

A woman of immense perseverance, fearlessness, and creativity, Gail was known for overcoming obstacles, whether it came to her law career, the art world, recovering from a serious auto accident, even dealing with cancer. She accepted any challenge with nobility and grace, inspiring her family, friends, fellow church congregants, meditation group and, most of all, Max.

When Gail discovered that her true calling was art, for example, she walked away from her law practice and started to paint. Three different periods characterize her work: still-life watercolors, photorealistic paintings of rock formations, and abstract art.

A lover of music

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TATE MYRE

TATE MYRE

2005 to 2021

“A beaming light for Oxford”

[Editor’s Note: This unofficial obituary for Tate Myre was compiled from various news accounts. Although Tate was one of four who died in the mass shooting at Oxford High School on Tuesday, November 30th, the young football star was the sole student who rushed toward the gunman in an effort to disarm him. The shooter’s name is purposely withheld.]

According to the Detroit Free Press, Buck Myre, Tate’s dad, was searching for his son at a staging area for survivors in Michigan and asking, “Where’s Tate?”

JR Laefner, the public address announcer at Oxford football games and a Myre family friend, said: “I was walking with Buck and we couldn’t find Tate.”

Then, Buck Myre came to a sudden realization.

“Buck looked right at me,” Laefner said, “and he said: ‘You know who would go take that guy out, right?’”

“I know,” Laefner said.

He ran toward the shooter

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